How to Be You When Your Family Wants You to be Someone Else

How to you stay true to yourself when your family wants you to be someone you’re not? By digging deep, and finding the strength and courage you need to accept yourself. Because the more comfortable you are with yourself, the more comfortable your family will be.

These tips are inspired by a reader’s comment:

“My family puts me down, and I have no voice at all,” says A. on 3 Ways to Cope With Difficult Parents. “They try to make me someone I’m not. When I try to say what is in my heart, they shut me down and contradict me, making me feel like I’m nobody. Please help me!”

The first thing you need to realize is that you have the power to help yourself. You may not be tapping into it right now, but you have more power than you think.

Secondly, you need to get comfortable being yourself. I just wrote an article yesterday, offering tips to a guy whose mom refuses to accept him for who he is. Part of the problem is that he doesn’t accept himself.

So, get authentic. Get real. Get YOU! Read Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken: Transform Your Life with the Power of Authenticity – it’ll help you cope with your family’s pressures to conform.

And here are a few tips for being yourself when your family wants you to be someone you’re not.

How to Be You When Your Family Wants You to be Someone Else

Here’s the rest of my reader’s comment:

“I’m trapped in h*ll,” she says. “The only things that make me happy at home are technology, friends, and doing creative things. But not my family.”

One of the saddest parts of growing up is realizing that our families can be our greatest sources of pain, heartache, and struggle. Isn’t it ironic? Our families should be our biggest allies, our strongest supporters…and yet sometimes they’re our biggest burdens, our thorniest thorns.

My most popular articles – the ones that get the most comments year-round – are the ones about family problems. So, at least you know you’re not alone! These tips revolve around finding and being your authentic self, instead of my usual tips on coping with family problems.

That said, however, I’m kicking the tips off with advice on family!

Accept your family members for who they are because…

…they aren’t going to change.

And, we’re supposed to do unto others as we would have done unto us, right?

So, if you wish your family members would accept you the way you are, then you need to accept them the way they are. One of the best tips for solving family problems is to stop wishing your family was different, and start accepting them for who they are.

Change how you see your family problems

I’m reading Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, and I love what he says about dealing with pain:

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you’d chosen it.”

This mind shift dramatically changes how you see your family problems – and it’ll help you be yourself when your family wants you to be someone else! Here’s how it works for me: I’ve been struggling with pain and heartache because my sister cut me out of her life five years ago. I didn’t do anything to deserve being rejected like that – in fact, I didn’t do anything at all. It’s her stuff, not mine, that propels her.

When I accept my sister’s rejection as if it was something I chose, I feel totally different! I feel light-hearted, happy, and free from self-recriminations and self-flagellations.

Can you try this? Take your current problem – such as the fact that your family puts you down and wants you to be someone you’re not – and accept it as if it was a choice you made. Let me know in the comments section below if it changes anything for you.

Remember that this is just a summary of Tolle’s advice – I can’t fully explain his thinking in this article.

Keep expressing your true self – despite what your family says and does

One of my favorite books is Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach – it’s all about finding and being yourself. I think the title doesn’t accurately reflect what this book does, which is help you be yourself!

Another good book on finding and being who you are is Reinventing Yourself: How to Become the Person You’ve Always Wanted to Be.

Don’t let your family crush your spirits or suppress your authentic self! Just because they don’t listen to you – or even if they criticize and condemn you – doesn’t mean you are less valuable, smart, creative, and amazing. It means your family doesn’t understand you.

Your family’s rejection and criticisms say more about them than they do about you.

For tips on dealing with family problems, read Coping With Controlling Parents? 5 Ways to Take Your Life Back.

What do you think of these tips for being yourself when your family wants you to be someone you’re not? Your comments and thoughts are welcome here! No judgement – and no advice. I can’t tell you how to cope with your family, but you may find that sharing your thoughts can help you figure out how to move forward.

For you are the expert on you, and that still small voice knows what to do. Stop, listen, and be still. God created you for a purpose, and you will Blossom – if you take time to listen for His guidance.


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5 thoughts on “How to Be You When Your Family Wants You to be Someone Else”

  1. Yes, I agree with you, Rick! It’s definitely easier for family members to point their finger at you instead of doing the work it takes to change themselves. And, sometimes they don’t even see themselves clearly or how their behavior affects others…because none of us sees our own selves clearly. We’re in us, so we can’t see us objectively.

    How have you found ways to be yourself when your family wants you to be someone else? Has anything made a difference?

  2. I have parents and one sister that cannot accept that I’m an adult and that I grew up to be very different from them. Rather than say “ok, well agree to disagree” or “different strokes”, they became obsessive about “punishing” me for being different. When I was injured (working one of their punishments) I was left disabled. They can’t accept that either and tell me I’m disrespectful and I hate my family just because I can’t chop wood, mow or any of that any more. I physically can’t. The best thing to happen was my sister picked a nothing fight and stopped talking to me. Soon after, I had a run-in with my dad where, by the end, I had to communicate that our relationship would be different from here on out and if he was going to speak to me, he was going to need to be respectful or he gets nothing from me. He didn’t talk to me for a month, lashing out in little ways (turning security cameras, setting my mom up to annoy me about something he doesn’t even care about, walking away when he saw me.) I didn’t act angry the entire time. I just ignored him. He finally came to me and asked me to sharpen his knife. Ever since I told him years ago about the psychopathic technique of earning trust through asking favors (investment), he’s used it every time we get in a fight. My advice is to be cordial when you have to, but don’t let anyone treat you like crap if they’re notorious for doing so. The whole “you didn’t turn out how I wanted” crap is basically them saying “I was a bad parent so the world had to teach you everything and now you’re not the clone I wanted and I’m reminded of that every time I see you, so I’m mad.” It’s narcissism.

    1. Often, when you ask them why they’re made, you’ll hear those type of people say “I just don’t know how to talk to you anymore”. Wait a minute… YOU’RE mad because YOU don’t know how to talk to me? It’s all in their head and all their problem. They don’t want to change their crappy behavior, so they try the same thing over and over, trying to hammer a square peg in a round hole.

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks, Tumisang, for your comment. I think it’s great that you accept your family for who they are. Some people will never let you be you – including your family – and there’s nothing you can do about that! You just need to make sure that you’re not being someone else.

    I also think that Jesus Christ is the best example of acceptance and forgiveness that ever walked the earth.


  4. My family is a hell,they are jealous of everthing im doing.the fact that i pass at school makes them first i used to cry and feel a lot of pain…but nowadays i accepted them the way they are and i accepted lord jesus as my family and my saviour bacoause i knw he will neva reject me!